Public meetings will be held in response to spring flooding

The province says it has hired Calian Group Ltd. to prepare an arm's-length review of the response to the flooding in the spring of 2018.

The Department of Public Safety says the consultant will meet with municipal councilors and officials from communities affected by the flooding.

In a press release, the province says public meetings are part of the review, and will allow participants to share their experiences and ideas on the response to the spring flood.

The schedule of public meetings is as follows:
- March 23, 11 a.m. - Quispamsis
- March 23, 3 p.m. - West Saint John
- March 25, 6:30 p.m. - Jemseg
- March 26, 6:30 p.m. - Maugerville
- March 30, 2 p.m. - Grand Falls

Residents will also have the option of providing feedback online, and additional meetings may be added depending on the level of interest.

Public Safety Minister Carl Urquhart says, "We are having an outside expert review whether we met our own expectations during this unprecedented event and whether we can find ways to improve our response to future events."

The province says last year's spring freshet was historic, affecting 12,000 properties with more than 2,500 people registering with the Canadian Red Cross.

Additionally, the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization (NBEMO) received 2,972 damage reports and 1,185 applications for disaster financial assistance.

According to the press release issued yesterday, the NBEMO has doubled the number of regional emergency management coordinators from six to 12 since the flooding and continues to work with local communities and emergency management organizations to help improve response capabilities.

Further planning has been undertaken with communities to identify flood-prone areas and to familiarize residents with flood maps of their respective areas, and River Watch 2019 will begin on March 11, with flood praparedness documents being made available on the NBEMO website and social media accounts.

Finally, the organization is also helping communities to submit mitigation proposals under the National Disaster Mitigation Program.